Army to back Bohol PDEA in war on drugs

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Army to back Bohol PDEA in war on drugs

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The public’s apprehension that drugs will again proliferate after the suspension of “Operation Tokhang” was given the re-assurance that it would not with the support to be extended by the Philippine Army.

Philippine Army personnel in Bohol have been readied to provide support for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the latter assumed its role as lead agency in the campaign against drugs.

The announcement from the Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion came after Pres. Duterte suspended anti-drug operations directly carried out by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

According to 47th IB commander Lt. Col. Dodjie Belloga, military units in the province have been ready to extend support in anti-drug operations even before the suspension of Project Double Barrel, Duterte’s blueprint in his government’s war against drugs.

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Due  to the changes in the role of law enforcers, the provincial government had already formed Task Group Banat which is comprised of the police, military and PDEA as lead agency, said Belloga.

Belloga said that the army battalion stationed in Bohol has enough forces to accompany PDEA agents during anti-drug operations. 
   For her part, PDEA Deputy Agent Chona Egam, in a separate interview with the Chroniclewarned drug personalities citing that the campaign against drugs remains the same while he asked the public to support the PDEA by giving tips on where to catch the remaining drug pushers operating in the province

Meanwhile, Police Senior Inspector Vincent Paul Dumaguing, the spokesperson of the Bohol Police Provincial Office explained that the police force will have to limit to inflagrante delicto operations.

Also, it is now the police will just have to be in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as to anti-illegal drugs operations.

This came upon the order of PNP-Chief Ronald Dela Rosa amid controversy over the involvement of rogue cops in the kidnap-slay of a South Korean businessman.

Effective last Monday, the PNP suspended Oplan Tokhang until the agency would have successfully rid the ranks of scalawags.

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Like the rest of PNP stations in other areas of the country, the BPPO will also be giving weight on ridding the ranks of corrupt police personnel.

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A number of police personnel in Bohol still active in service until now are reportedly involved in illegal drugs- -either as users or protectors of drug runners.

It had been noted also that these police personnel now under observation had been known to be drug users even while still students.

Dela Rosa had earlier admitted some police officers had abused Oplan Tokhang and the war on drugs might only fail if these scalawags in uniform will continue to be part of the PNP organization.

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According to Dela Rosa the scalawags in uniform sabotaged the anti-illegal drugs operation.

Dela Rosa decided to suspend Oplan Tokhang following the revelations at the Senate probe and testimonies alleging that “police officials were involved in the kidnap-slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo last October”.

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The Bohol police force is not spared in the scope of a counter-intelligence operation ordered by Dela Rosa to be undertaken by a “team primarily tasked to identify cops involved in illegal activities”.

The BPPO, however, clarified that even prior to the implementation of Oplan Tokhang the anti-illegal drugs campaign in Bohol had already achieved significant accomplishments.

The all-out war against illegal drugs in Bohol actually went aggressive when Gov. Edgar Chatto assumed office on first term.

In 2014, Boholanos rose in outrage against illegal drugs after it turned out that a gang of high-profile drug personalities had been behind the ambush of dedicated chiefs of police in Danao and Ubay.

Police Chief Inspector George Caña, then chief of police of Ubay, succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds mostly in the face in an early evening ambush on June 7, 2014.

He died a hero at 47 at the height of aggressive drive against drug personalities.

Caña still had a number of drug personalities in the list to pursue and had once declared that he never feared death in his crusade.

The SWAT Team from Camp Dagohoy tracked down his killers the morning after and killed the leader, Owen Rosales- -a dismissed cop- -along with five others.

Caña’s murder came barely a month and a half after the slay of the officer in charge of Danao police station, SPO1 Noel Romagos of Danao, on April 29, also at around 7:30 p.m.

In June 2013, a composite police team from Danao and Bukidnon tracked down one Dario Suello- -the suspected gunman in Romagos’s murder- -in an operation at Magsaysay St. in Poblacion, Valencia City, Bukidnon.

In August 2014, an ex-convict who was leading a gang of drug runners wounded PO1 Michael June Ejoc in a drug raid in Poblacion 1, Tagbilaran City. Ejoc later died in the hospital.

In less than 48 hours, the SWAT Team intercepted his killer, Artemio Tare Jr., at a checkpoint in Guindulman. Tare was killed in the shootout.

Tare was convicted for illegal drugs in 2003 and was released from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa in 2013.

Another cop, PO3 Herminigildo Abella, was killed a few months after the intense elections in Inabanga in 2013.

In January last year, the combined forces of a team from Inabanga Police Station and the Provincial Public Safety-SWAT Team killed a known contract killer, Renato Petalcorin, who had been tagged in Abella’s murder.

Also in 2014, just for the period from July  1 to August 15, PNP seized  P28-million worth of illegal  drugs and arrested 313 people  in Central Visayas region.

By then, PSSupt. Conrado Capa, the PNP- region deputy director for  operations, had recently been  quoted, reporting that 65  firearms had been confiscated  in the anti-drug operations  in just one month and a half. 

It was in October 2014 when a drug personality in the watchlist of Camp Crame was arrested in a buy-bust operation in Panglao.

The drug ring leader had allegedly been peddling shabu to tourists in Panglao.

The combined forces of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC)/Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, at that time, led by PSInsp. Roland Lavisto and the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) then led by PSInsp. Romeo Sentinta conducted the operation in coordination with Panglao police station.

They arrested one Bienvenido Piedad, also known as Bedok, a 39-year-old resident of barangay Tawala in Panglao.

Piedad was caught in possession of a government model Colt caliber .45 pistol with serial number SN 917214, packs of shabu and some drug paraphernalia.

He also disclosed that it had already been the system in the drug ring that pushers should have at least on firearm either as a benefit provided by the druglord or a requisite to be accepted in the group.

The operation called for the involvement of the regional police team because its basis was the Camp Crame watchlist.

Sentinta’s group was the one who cracked down the “Inday Bono” group in Ubay during a raid that resulted in a shootout about two months prior to Piedad’s arrest.

Romulo Caño, also known as  Inday Bono, tagged as Ubay’s  Ubay’s most notorious drug  leader was killed in a shootout in August 2014.

He had been out on bail after his  arrest in January of the same year for the same offenses– illegal drugs and loose  firearms–violations of  Republic Act 9165 or the  Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs  Act of 20012 and RA 10591 or  the Comprehensive Firearms

In eight months since late  December 2013, four of the  top five in the list were already killed while  active in the drug ring–all  in the first year stint of  then police provincial director  Dennis Agustin.

Junrex Mascariñas was killed  in time of his birthday on  December 18, 2013 in his hometown in Tubigon,  along with a companion–Edwin  Atup Aranzado, a barangay  kagawad of Mariveles, Dauis.

 

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